Cold Winter Takes Its Toll on Cummins Westport’s Spark Engines,
Intake Ice Can ‘Induce Elevated Exhaust Temperatures or Flames’
The fell winter has dealt a blow to natural gas trucking. Cummins Westport, Inc. has recalled more than 25,000 of its market-dominating dedicated-natural gas engines due to a problem with intake manifold ice that could present a fire hazard. Both the 8.9-liter ISL G and new 11.9-liter ISX12 G are affected.
The good news is that a software fix is expected to remedy the problem, first reported to the manufacturer in late January as “flames from the exhaust” from two vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Condensation in the intake manifold may freeze during cold weather conditions and interfere with the proper operation of the intake manifold pressure sensor,” states a NHTSA summary.
“The improper operation of the sensor could induce elevated exhaust temperatures or flames from the exhaust pipe, increasing the risk of a fire or burn injury to a person near the exhaust pipe,” the agency says.
‘Admirable the Way They’ve Stepped Up’
The recall affects 22,459 ISL G engines manufactured from September 12, 2007 through February 2, 2014; and 2,554 ISX12 G engines manufactured from February 19, 2013, through February 2, 2014.
The fix involves recalibration of the engine control module, to be provided at no cost to owners through the Cummins service network. “The new ECM calibration has improved diagnostics to detect the improper intake manifold senor condition during freezing conditions,” NHTSA says, with “improved control logic to take appropriate fueling action under the freezing conditions.”
One OEM man blames the unusually cold winter. The fix is probably necessary only in the upper Midwest and Northeast, he says, adding that the problem probably wouldn’t have surfaced at all in any other year. Cummins Westport has gone the extra mile, he told F&F, to correct all 25,013 engines. “It’s admirable the way they’ve stepped up,” he says.
“The truck’s down for an hour for a software flash,” says the industry man, “a 15-minute flash.”
According to the NHTSA filing, the ISL G was shipped to 51 “vehicle OEMs” (including 15 Cummins distributors) over the years, while the ISX12G was shipped to ten.
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Source: NHTSA with Fleets & Fuels follow-up